That’s what Novak Djokovic needed a week before the French Open.
Top Serb Caspar Rudd lost to the Italian Open 6-4, 6-3 to reach the biggest final of the year.
Having missed a large portion of the season without being vaccinated against the coronavirus, Djokovic will try to extend his five-match winning streak against Stefanos Sitsipas in the final.
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“I can expect big fights,” Djokovic said. “But I’m ready for it.”
Sitsipus defeated Alexander Zavrev 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the final in Rome for the first time.
Djokovic is looking for a sixth title in the Italian capital.
In the women’s semifinals, top-seeded Iga Svitek defeated Arena Sabalenka 6-2, 6-1 for her 27th victory and will face another player on one run by Ons Jabeur as she tries to defend her Rome title.
After winning the Madrid Open Trophy last week, Jabeur lost to Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 1-6, 6-5 for her 11th consecutive victory.
Djokovic recorded the 1000th win of his career, becoming only the fifth person to reach this mark after Jimmy Connors (1274 wins), Roger Federer (1251), Evan Lendl (1068) and Rafael Nadal (1051).
After the match, Djokovic was presented with a cake with “1000” written on it.
“I watched Roger and Rafa celebrate that milestone and I myself was looking forward to reaching 1000,” Djokovic said.
Djokovic is playing only the fifth tournament of his year, with his previous best result in the final of his home tournament Small Serbia Open last month. Last week, he lost to 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals of the Madrid Open.
Sitsipas have been pushed to three sets in three of their four matches this week, beating local favorite Janic Cinar in straight sets in the quarter-finals.
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